Legal basis

The 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage aim at the protection of cultural heritage. These two conventions are not directly applicable and are implemented by the Cultural Property Transfer Act (CPTA).

The Cultural Property Transfer Act represents the Swiss implementation of the 1970 and the 2001 UNESCO Convention. The CPTA and associated implementing provisions (Cultural Property Transfer Ordinance, CPTO) represent the law governing the import, transit, export and repatriation of cultural property.

Iraq ordinance

The August 7, 1990 Iraq ordinance prohibits the import, transit and export as well as the sale, distribution, arrangement, procurement and other form of transfer of Iraqi cultural property stolen in the Republic of Iraq, otherwise lost against the will of the owner, or illicitly exported from the Republic of Iraq since August 2, 1990.

Ordinance concerning Syria

On May 18th, 2011, the Federal Council has issued the ordinance on measures against Syria. On December 17th, 2014, due to the deterioration of the situation, the Federal Council decided to stiffen penalties and has incorporated several new provisions to the ordinance. The import, export, transit, sale, distribution, brokerage and acquisition of Syrian cultural goods are now forbidden if there is reason to believe that such goods have been stolen or illegally exported from Syria.

Bilateral Agreements

For the contents of this paragraph refer to the chapter Bilateral Agreements.

Last modification 21.03.2019

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Federal Office of Culture
Specialised Body for the International Transfer of Cultural Property
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 462 03 25

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